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Secureworks CEO Transition: Wendy Thomas To Replace Michael Cote

During her nine years with Secureworks, Wendy Thomas, 49, has driven the acquisition of Verisign’s Managed Security Services (MSS) business and launched the company’s first security analytics product.

Cybersecurity services vendor Secureworks has tapped top lieutenant Wendy Thomas to replace longtime leader Michael Cote as president and CEO, effective in September.

The Atlanta-based company credited Thomas, 49, with driving Secureworks’ acquisition of Verisign’s Managed Security Services (MSS) business and launching Secureworks’ first security analytics product during her nine years with the company. Thomas will take over on Sept. 3 for Cote, 60, who has led Secureworks since February 2002, just three years after the company’s founding.

“Wendy is a proven and respected leader who has been the driving force of our company’s transformation,” Cote said. “Her deep knowledge of our business has made her a valued strategic partner for many years, and throughout her tenure she has delivered strong operating results and innovative solutions through a relentless commitment to our customers, our purpose, and our people.”

[Related: Secureworks To Buy Vulnerability Management Provider Delve]

Secureworks’ stock is up $0.39 (2.66 percent) to $15.07 per share in pre-market trading Thursday, which is the highest the company’s stock has traded since March 10. The company also said that sales in the quarter ended April 30 fell 1.2 percent to $139.5 million while net loss improved by 15.2 percent to $6.4 million, or $0.08 per share. Analysts had been expecting a net loss of $0.15 per share on sales of $135.1 million.

Since April 2020 Thomas has led Secureworks’ customer success organization, which encompasses product and engineering, operations, customer experience, and threat intelligence. She led Secureworks’ finance operation from 2008 to 2011 and again from June 2015 to June 2019, at which point she became the company’s chief product officer.

In connection with her appointment as CEO, Thomas’ base salary will be increased from $425,000 to $500,000, her cash bonus opportunity will be increased from 60 percent to 100 percent of her base salary, and she will receive $3.5 million worth of stock awards (half of which are tied to performance metrics). Thomas received $3.3 million of compensation in the fiscal year ended Jan. 29, 2021.

“We are uniquely positioned to help them [customers] and unlock future growth opportunities with our deep bench of security expertise, our singular focus on software-driven security, and our customer-centric solutions that solve security’s toughest challenges,” Thomas said in a statement.

During Cote’s nearly two decades leading Secureworks, he engineered Dell Technologies’ acquisition of the company for $612 million in January 2011 and oversaw the company’s April 2016 Nasdaq initial public offering (IPO), which raised $114 million on a $1.12 billion valuation. Dell owns nearly 84 percent of Secureworks’ Class A stock, and the technology portfolios of the two companies are tightly integrated.

“I’ve had the privilege of working with Mike for over a decade, witnessing first-hand his leadership and devotion to Secureworks’ purpose and customers,” Secureworks Chairman Michael Dell said in a statement. “On behalf of the Board, we thank Mike for his contributions and congratulate Wendy as Secureworks’ next President and CEO.”

In connection with Cote’s retirement, he will receive more than $720,000 in severance pay as well as a $50,000 subsidy for COBRA benefits from the company, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Cote additionally will receive $200,000 to serve as a consultant to Secureworks from Sept. 3, 2021 to Oct. 2, 2022.

“It has been my honor to lead this company for the past two decades, and I am proud of all we accomplished to create a safer, more secure world for our customers and their customers,” Cote said in a statement. “I’ve made lasting friendships and I am fortunate to have worked with the best people in the industry.”

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